Effects of Maternal Nutrient Restriction During Gestation on LH Production in the Female Bovine Fetus Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Gestational nutrient restriction causes epigenetic and phenotypic changes that affect multiple physiological processes in the offspring. Gonadotropes, the cells in the anterior pituitary that secrete luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), are particularly sensitive to nutritional changes during fetal development. Our objective herein was to investigate the effects of gestational nutrient restriction on LH protein content and number of gonadotropes in the fetal bovine pituitary. We hypothesized that moderate nutrient restriction during mid to late gestation decreases pituitary LH production, which is associated with a reduced number of gonadotropes. Embryos were produced in vitro with X-bearing semen from a single sire then split to generate monozygotic twins. Each identical twin was transferred to a virgin dam yielding four sets of female twins. At gestational d 158, the dams were randomly assigned into two groups, one fed 100% NRC requirements (control) and the other fed 70% of NRC requirements (restricted) during the last trimester of gestation, ensuring each pair of twins had one twin in each group. At gestational d 265, the fetuses (n = 4/group) were euthanized by barbiturate overdose, and the pituitaries were collected. Western blots were performed using an ovine LH-specific antibody (Dr. A.F. Parlow, NIDDK). The total LH protein content in the pituitary tended to be decreased in the restricted fetuses compared to controls (P > 0.10). However, immunohistochemistry analysis of the pituitary did not reveal any significant changes in the total number of LH-positive cells (control = 46023 cells/0.5 mm2; restricted = 49645 cells/0.5 mm2, P = 0.58). In conclusion, while maternal nutrient restriction during gestation resulted in a trend of reduced LH content in the fetal pituitary, immunohistological findings suggest that these changes are likely related to the individual potential of each gonadotrope to produce LH, rather than alterations in cell differentiation during fetal development.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Fahey, S. H., West, S., Long, J. M., Satterfield, C., & Cardoso, R. C.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Fahey, Sterling H||West, Sarah||Long, John M||Satterfield, Carey||Cardoso, Rodolfo C

publication date

  • January 2021